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PERSECUTION WATCH

Pray For Vietnamese Christians on May 4th

By Assist News Service

CBN.com -- SANTA ANA, CA (ANS) -- Open Doors is encouraging Christians worldwide to remember the Church in Vietnam on May 4. This special Sunday has been designated as the International Day of Prayer for Vietnam by several organizations concerned about the situation in this Southeast Asian nation.

We have a very simple theology, a leading Vietnamese pastor said. If you have problems pray. If you have more problems pray more!

While the laws of Vietnam promise religious freedom, in practice the government continues its policies of religious repression among the population of almost 80 million. Vietnam is No. 3 on Open Doors World Watch List which ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith.

Having spent a week in Vietnam late last year, I can attest to the persecution of pastors and other Christiansmany of those with whom we spoke with had been imprisoned at least once for their faith, says Jerry Dykstra, Media Relations Coordinator for Open Doors USA. Christians in Vietnam need our prayer and support; not just on May 4 but every day of the year as do millions of Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith.

Persecution is intense among the minority tribal groups, or Montagnards, in the Central Highlands and northern mountain regions, where the church has grown dramatically in recent years.

And recent reports indicate Christian persecution is increasing. Hundreds of Montagnard churches have been closed and more than 50 pastors and church leaders have been arrested during the last few months. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, government officials continue to suppress organized religious activities and to harass leaders and followers of unregistered religious organizations, as well as clergy members of officially recognized religious groups.

In addition, the majority of Vietnams people have only known life under a communist regime with its inherent limitations on religious freedom.

Fifty-one percent of Vietnams population is less than 24 years old, which means that over half of the population was born after 1975 and the fall of Saigon, a Vietnam watcher told Open Doors. Thirty-two percent are between 11 and 14 years of age.

So this years International Day of Prayer for Vietnam is encouraging special prayer for Vietnams children. Focusing our eyes on the children reminds us how Jesus so dearly loves the children of this world. Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for such is the Kingdom of God, (Mark 10:14), records the International Day of Prayer for Vietnam website (www.pray4vn.com).

PRAYER REQUESTS

Pray for the minority tribal groups, particularly the Christians, as the level of persecution against them is increasing. More than 50 pastors and church leaders among them have been imprisoned, and an estimated 500 churches have been closed.

Pray for Christians in Vietnam who have suffered beatings, confiscation of property, harassment, intimidation; pray for those who have had their travel restricted.

Pray for the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (ECVN). While the ECVN has official recognition and is being allowed to train selected students for leadership, the government continues its policies of restriction and control.

An estimated 200 million Christians worldwide suffer persecution for their faith in Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination for being Christian.

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Assist News Service is brought to you in part by Open Doors USA, a ministry that has served the Suffering Church around the world for nearly 50 years.

An estimated 200 million Christians worldwide suffer persecution for their faith in Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination for being Christian. Open Doors, founded in 1955 by Brother Andrew, author of the best-selling book, Gods Smuggler, seeks to serve and strengthen the Persecuted Church in the worlds most difficult areas through training, literature distribution, community development and personal encouragement. To partner with Open Doors call 949-752-6600, go to its USA web site at www.opendoorsusa.org or write Open Doors with Brother Andrew, PO Box 27001, Santa Ana, CA 92799.

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